FIELD SYSTEMS AND PLACE NAMES
OF OLD KNOTTINGLEY
TERRY SPENCER B.A. (Hons), Ph D.
PORT OF KNOTTINGLEY :
GAZETTEER OF PLACE NAMES
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An ‘L’ shaped enclosure of land lying at the east side of England Lane.
The name indicates that it was originally an assarted intake which was
incorporated into the land forming the Middle Field.
The term ‘eng’ indicates pastureland. Knottingley Ings were located at the
east of the town, along the river bank between the river and Marsh Lane.
The land is low lying and prone to seasonal flooding and this resulted
in verdant pasture which was part of the earliest common field system at
Knottingley, being a continuation of the land sued for cultivation, the
Flatts. The water meadows were divided into two areas, the West Ings and
the East Ings, also known as Little Marsh. The fomer were adjacent to
Pighill Garth on the land later known as Garner Haven and the latter
occupied land in the bend of the river known as Bank Dole.
A once densely populated area of lower Aire Street which, being situated
close to the river bank, was prone to frequent flooding. When flooding
occurred the geographically almost self contained community was isolated
from the rest of Aire Street, being surrounded by water and therefore
ironically named as the Island. Close by stood a jetty from which
numerous vessels discharged and loaded cargoes. The lower ferry was also
situated at the back of the Island and in the nineteenth century the
Ship Inn stood on the site. Following closure of the inn in 1908 the
premises were sold and refurbished as a dwelling house before being
demolished in order to clear the site for the erection of the Palace
Cinema in 1912. Most of the property on the Island was demolished as
part of the Aire Street Redevelopment Plan in the 1960s.
Also known as Jackson’s Row, Long Row, and Moorhouse’s Row, (although
another site with the name Morrhouse Buildings which stood at the
Weeland Road end of Headlands Lane was also referred to colloquially as
Moorhouse Row) this terrace of houses stood on the site now occupied by
Knottingley Swimming Pool and Sports Centre. The row was built in part
of the grounds of the residence of the Moorhouse family, Marine Villa,
alongside the Weeland Road at Hill Top and is recorded as early as the
1840s. Following the relinquishment of Marine Villa by the Moorhouse
family and the acquisition of the house and its adjoining estate by
William Jackson, the original row of houses was rebuilt and made longer,
becoming more identified with the Jackson family, hence the appellation
Jacksonville. The fact that there always appeared to be one or more of
the residents either standing or sitting at an opened doorway of the
houses watching the passing scene (i.e. ‘gawping’ or ‘gaping’) resulted
in the property being named colloquially as ‘Gaping Row’. The row was
demolished in the late 1970s.
JAIL (GAOL) HOUSES / YARD
Former terraced cottages later used as small shops, including Knottingley
Post Office, the Jail Houses are situated opposite the Arcade at Hill
Top. Jail Yard is located behind the properties. One of the former
gatehouses, also used for commercial purposes, was for many years a
cobblers’ workshop and stands in a detached position marking the former
entrance to the debtors’ prison from which the name of the site derives.
A group of eight bungalows situated in The Holes, Hill Top, and built to
commemorate the silver jubilee of George V and Queen Mary in 1935.
A group of five houses on the south side of Weeland Road and standing
adjacent to Jubilee Walk, now merely identified as Weeland Road houses.
The designated name of the snicket which connects Racca Green to Womersley
Road via Beulah Place. The name was bestowed to commemorate Queen
Victoria’s Silver Jubilee of 1887 but the ginnel is of ancient date
being a pathway across Racca Field in the Middle Ages which enabled
peasant labourers to take a short cut from Racca Green to the Racca
Field Lane (Womersley Road) and providing access to the open fields to
the south and west of the settlement area.
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